• TABLE OF CONTENTS
HIDE
 Front Cover
 Advertising
 Frontispiece
 Title Page
 Table of Contents
 Never wrong
 "It was only in fun"
 Back Cover
 Spine






Group Title: Favourite library
Title: Never wrong, or, The young disputant
CITATION THUMBNAILS PAGE TURNER PAGE IMAGE ZOOMABLE
Full Citation
STANDARD VIEW MARC VIEW
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00004068/00001
 Material Information
Title: Never wrong, or, The young disputant and, "It was only in fun" : tales for the young
Series Title: Favourite library
Alternate Title: Young disputant
It was only in fun
Physical Description: 125 p., 1 leaf of plates : ill. ; 14 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Gilbert, John, 1817-1897 ( Illustrator )
Griffith and Farran ( Publisher )
Alabaster & Passmore ( Printer )
Publisher: Griffith and Farran
Place of Publication: London
Manufacturer: Alabaster & Passmore
Publication Date: 1869
Copyright Date: 1869
 Subjects
Subject: Conflict management -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Certainty -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Humility -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Practical jokes -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Cousins -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Pictorial cloth bindings (Binding) -- 1869   ( rbbin )
Onlays (Binding) -- 1869   ( rbbin )
Publishers' advertisements -- 1869   ( rbgenr )
Bldn -- 1869
Genre: novel   ( marcgt )
Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Pictorial cloth bindings (Binding)   ( rbbin )
Onlays (Binding)   ( rbbin )
Publishers' advertisements   ( rbgenr )
Spatial Coverage: England -- London
 Notes
General Note: Alabaster & Passmore was at this address from 1866-77 (cf Brown, P.A. London publishers and printers)
General Note: Illustrations by John Gilbert.
General Note: Publisher's advertisements precede text.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00004068
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: notis - ALG8469
oclc - 50254897
alephbibnum - 002228162

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Front Cover 1
        Front Cover 2
    Advertising
        Page 1
        Page 1a
    Frontispiece
        Page 2
    Title Page
        Page 3
        Page 4
    Table of Contents
        Page 5
        Page 6
    Never wrong
        Page 7
        Page 8
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 12
        Page 13
        Page 14
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        Page 48
        Page 49
        Page 50
        Page 51
        Page 52
        Page 53
        Page 54
    "It was only in fun"
        Page 55
        Page 56
        Page 57
        Page 58
        Page 59
        Page 60
        Page 61
        Page 62
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        Page 120
        Page 121
        Page 122
        Page 123
        Page 124
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    Back Cover
        Page 127
        Page 128
    Spine
        Page 129
Full Text












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The Baldwin Library
University
Rm~B -of
RFcrida





THE FAVOURITE LIBRARY.

A Series of Works for the Young complete in Twelve Volumes, each
with an Illustration by a well-known Artist, price is. cloth.

*** The Twelve Volumes in an Elegant Box, price 15s.

1. THE ESKDALE HERD-BOY. By LADY STODDART.
2. MRS. LEICESTER'S SCHOOL. By CHARLES and MARY
LAMB.
3. THE HISTORY OF THE ROBINS. By MRS. TRIMMER.
4. MEMOIR OF BOB, THE SHOTTED TERRIER.
5. KEEPER'S TRAVELS IN SEARCH OF HIS MASTER.
6. THE SCOTTISH ORPHANS. By LADY STODDART.
7. NEVER WRONG; or, THE YOUNG DISPUTANT.
8. THE LIFE AND PERAMBULATIONS OF A MOUSE.
9. TRIMMER'S INTRODUCTION TO THE KNOW-
LEDGE OF NATURE.
10. RIGHT AND WRONG. By the Author of "ALWAYS
HAPPY "
11. HARRY'S HOLIDAY; or, THE DOINGS OF ONE WHO
HAD NOTHING TO DO. By JEFFERYS TAYLOR.
12. SHORT POEMS AND HYMNS FOR CHILDREN TO
COMMIT TO MEMORY.
The above may be had, Two Volumes bound in One, Is. 6d. each,
as follows :

1. LADY STODDART'S SCOTTISH TALES.
2. ANIMAL HISTORIES. THE DOG.
3. ANIMAL HISTORIES. THE ROBINS AND MOUSE.
4. TALES FOR BOYS. HARRY'S HOLIDAY, and NEVER
WRONG.
5. TALES FOR GIRLS. LEICESTER'S SCHOOL, and RIGHT
AND WRONG.
6. POETRY AND NATURE. SHORT POEMS, and TRIM-
MER'S INTRODUCTION.










NEVER WRONG;

OR, THE




AND


"IT WAS ONLY IN FUN."

TALES FOR THE YOUNG.










\it




LONDON:
GRIFFITH AND FARRAN,
SUCCESSORS TO NEWBERY AND HARRIS,
CORNER OF ST. PAUL'S CHURCHYARD.





































ALABASTER & PASSMORE,
STEAM PRINTERS,
31, LITTLE BRITAIN, LONDON, E.C.




















CONTENTS.




PAGE
NEVER WRONG; OR, THE YOUNG DISPUTANT 7

"IT WAS ONLY IN FUN." 57











NEVER WRONG, &c.




CHAPTER I.


"WHAT are you so busy about?" inquired Walter Sedley
of his cousin, Edmond Hargrave, whom he found sitting
alone in the school-room, a pencil in one hand, and with
the other turning over the leaves of a book nearly filled
with writing. "You know, Walter," returned Edmond,
"that I, being the eldest boy in the school, have been
chosen by the rest to decide who is right and who is
wrong in any dispute or misconduct that may happen
out of school-hours, and this being the beginning of a
new year, I have been looking through my book of
trials and cases that have occurred during the last, that
I may make out a fair account of improvement or the
contrary."
Well, and which do you find the most of ?" asked
Walter, impatiently, for the subject was anything but
agreeable to him, as my young readers will quickly






NEVER WRONG OR,


discover. "I am sorry to say," answered Edmond,
"that, with regard to yourself, there is little or no
improvement at all; for though in three cases out of
every four you, Walter, are the principal person con-
cerned, and proved to be in error, you have never, in
any one of them, signed your name as acknowledging
yourself to be in the wrong; I have the names oc-
casionally of all the other boys in the school, but you
have as yet never owned a judgment just that has been
given against you." "That is, given by you, and set
down in your wise book," said Walter contemptuously;
"and pray, cousin Edmond, what does that prove ?"
" Only this," returned Edmond, very coolly, "that you,
Walter, either are or believe yourself to be INFALLIBLE,
which word you will find, on looking in your Dictionary,
to mean 'INCAPABLE OF MISTAKE.'" Do you think I
don't know that without your telling me?" again inter-
rupted Walter, petulantly; "considering how much
younger I am, I dare say I know the meaning of dic-
tionary words as well as you do." "You ought to do
so at least," replied Edmond, "for, according to your
own account, you know everything, not only as well,
but a great deal better than other people do; and that
is the reason that it has been determined to give you
the name of 'Never Wrong; or, The Young Disputant,'
till you prove you have no claim to it. You know we






THE YOUNG DISPUTANT.


do it all in good humour; it is only a sort of play: so
you need take no serious offence at all; and if by our
game of 'Judge and Laws' we cure one another of any
fault or folly, we are surely doing each other a service;
you will own that to be correct, I suppose." Of
course I do," returned Walter, but I can't see that I
deserve to have a nickname, and I am determined that
I will never answer to it; it is not right of one boy to
make fun of another : I hate all such stuff." "So you
do when you are the boy to be made fun of, as you call
it," replied Edmond; "but you did not say so, Walter,
when we named Master Willoughby, the other day,
DON BOMBASTES FURIoso, because of his extravagant
way of speaking, such as calling his pens horrible,
wretched, and miserable, because they are a little too
soft or too hard for him; you thought nicknaming him
a good joke, and laughed as heartily as any of us."
And suppose I did, what does that prove ?" asked
Walter, again. "I saw that he laughed himself, and
didn't mind it, so there was no harm in making fun of
him ; besides, everybody could see that he had the
fault, and that it would be a good job to cure him of
it." "And suppose, Walter," said Edmond, "that
everybody can see you have the fault of thinking your-
self always in the right, would it not be a good job to
cure you of it To be sure it would, if I had it,






NEVER WRONG ; OR,


but I have not," replied Walter, angrily. "Just prove
now, cousin Edmond, that I am never wrong, and you
may call me 'Infallible,' or anything else you please."
" It is not my business now," returned his companion,
" to prove that you are never wrong, but that you never
think yourself so." "That's not quite true, Edmond," said
Walter, "for I have often declared that everybody that
ever lived must be wrong sometimes; so of course I
must be wrong occasionally, as well as the rest."
"Aye, Walter," replied his cousin, laughing, "but the
' rest' seem often to know when their sometimes' take
place, but we never can find out when your 'sometimes
wrong' happen. If you break anything lent you, it
is sure to be an accident; if you don't keep to the rules
in or out of school, the poor rules are to blame, not
you of course,-they are bad ones; if you quarrel
with us, it is all our fault, and not yours,--we ought to
know better than to say or do anything to offend you,
however unintentional; and added to all this, when
you make complaints of us to our master, you excuse
yourself by saying he has undertaken to educate us,
and if he don't know our faults, how is he to cure
them It is a good thing for us that he has more
sense and justice than to encourage idle tale-bearing
and misrepresentation even from you, who are his own
brother; and I really believe, Walter, that you would


10






THE YOUNG DISPUTANT.


not make such foolish complaints to him as you do,
when you are cool, but only when you are in a passion."
" No, to be sure I would not," eagerly exclaimed Walter,
ever delighted to get rid of censure, and as constantly
insensible to its justice; "and of course, cousin
Edmond, when I am in a passion I ought not to be
blamed for anything I do, for then people scarcely-
know what they are about or what they say."
There again, Walter," exclaimed Edmond, quite
right as usual, NEVER WRONG, of course; and yet there
is one thing you have mentioned that I think you will
hardly venture to defend." "And what is that ?"
inquired Walter. "The being in a passion." "And
so, cousin Judge," cried Walter, in a great wrath, "I
am to put up with all manner of ill treatment without
being angry, just as though persons could help being
angry when they are offended." Perhaps not always,"
said Edmond, "but then people ought to be sure they
have sufficient cause of offence before they get into
such a passion as you do, Walter, even supposing it to
be right to be in a passion at all."
It is mighty easy to say; but I fancy it is a great
deal harder to do," grumbled Walter; "but I can't see
any reason, though you are my cousin, and older, for
your schooling and lecturing me in the way you do; if
I had not the best disposition and temper in the world,


11






NEVER WRONG ; OR,


I should never bear it, that I shouldn't; you are
always trying to pick a quarrel with me. One does
not expect to find an enemy in one's relation," added
the perverse boy, becoming thoroughly excited; "but
I don't care for anything you can do or say; I know
that I haven't any one of the faults you have told me
of, and the moment my brother comes home I will tell
him all about it." "Well done, 'Never Wrong !'"
exclaimed Edmond, again laughing; not one of the
faults I have been telling you of! and intend com-
plaining to your brother as soon as he returns from
his walk. But come, cousin Walter,'.' he added, more
seriously, "I cannot endure that you should call me
your enemy; you should recollect that it is your
brother's wish, on account of our relationship and
difference of age, that I should assist, to the best of
my ability, in pointing out what may be of advantage
to you. You ought to know by this time, that, from
the circumstance of your being born so many, many
years after my cousin, Mr. Sedley, that you were a
great pet with both father and mother, who did their
best, with the help of grandmamma, to spoil you; so
that there has been not only a great deal to learn, but
a great deal to unlearn you; all you want is to have a
little more candour, more ingenuousness-I mean that
openness of temper which would incline you to believe


12






THE YOUNG DISPUTANT. 13

yourself wrong when told that you are so, without such
long arguments to prove it. You are always ready
enough to say that you must be sometimes wrong,
because no one is always right, as though such an
acknowledgment as that could be of any use. But
now, Walter, I will make a bargain with you: the
first time, upon any occasion, you really seriously own
yourself in error at the moment of being told so, I
will erase the name that so much offends you from my
book, and, what is more, will challenge the whole
school, one by one, (as your champion,) to single com-
bat with snowballs, if they should presume to again
call you Never Wrong,'' The Young Disputant,' or
'Infallible ;' this is a capital opportunity for you, being
the Christmas holidays, which you and I, and some
others, are to spend at school; so let your reformation
take place before the time for snowballs goes over."





NEVER WRONG; OR,


CHAPTER II.

ABOUT an hour after the conversation between Edmond
and Walter, Mr. Sedley returned home. His first
inquiry was for his younger brother. "Do you want
me, Alfred? asked Walter, somewhat impatiently, at
being interrupted in his play. If I did not, I should
not have sent for you," returned Mr. Sedley, mildly.
"Of course I knew you must have some reason in
sending for me, brother; but then, you know, I could
not tell that you wanted me particularly, so that I need
come to you directly," said the young disputant. "We
will not argue that point, Walter," replied Mr. Sedley
" whilst you are under my care, it will be better that
you should always come immediately, whatever may be
my motive in desiring to see you. I sent for you now
that you might bring me the book you promised to cut
open for me against my return. Where is it ? I ex-
pected to find it here." 'Tis on my desk, I believe,
where you placed it," returned Walter, in some con-
fusion, "but I have not opened it." And why did
you not ?" inquired his brother. Because I forgot
it," returned Walter boldly. "How many times more,"
said Mr. Sedley, am I to be told of this forgetting,


14






THE YOUNG DISPUTANT.


when I inquire, Walter, for what you have been desired
to do, or promised you would do ?" Well, brother,
you needn't be so angry," answered Walter, who always
mistook admonition for severity and injustice; "if I
have a bad memory, it is my misfortune, and not my
fault; and I am ready to say again, as I have done
before, I am sorry my being unable to recollect should
put you to inconvenience; and what's the use of my
saying more ?" "There is certainly no use in saying
more, or so much either," said Mr. Sedley, "if it is
mere words, as I think it is in your case, for I do not
believe your memory to be at all in fault; you were
inclined otherwise to dispose of your time, and so you
forgot what you had promised to do, and this you call
want of memory." "It is not very kind of you to say
so," answered Walter, much offended; you wouldn't
speak to little Henry that way; when he said he was
sorry about something the other day, you didn't make
the same answers to him as you do to me." Certainly
not," returned his brother, "because I have no occasion
to do so, for I have always found, when Henry has said
he is sorry, he has at the same time, been convinced
that he was in fault, and has, moreover, taken care to
avoid a repetition of it."
But, perhaps, Henry, being such a little boy, is very
much afraid of you," observed Walter, unwilling to
B


15






NEVER WRONG; OR,


give up the point as long as he could maintain it.
"Which it is very clear that you are not," said the
patient Mr. Sedley; "but I must explain to you that
there are two kinds of fear: one, the fear of being in
the wrong, arising from a sincere desire to do rightly,
and engage the respect of ourselves as well as that of
others. The fear that you allude to, in speaking of my
little boy Henry, could only exist in a nature like his,
where the parent or teacher is of a tyrannical, severe, or
passionate temper and disposition. Now, as I am neither
of these, but have, I trust, proved myself to be an affec-
tionate father as well as brother, I can see no reason
for your suggesting such an inducement for the good
behaviour of Henry. My poor Walter," he continued,
with great emotion, what a pity it is that our parents
suffered you to reason, as you call it, where they ought
to have commanded and you to have obeyed; what a
hard task they have given me to correct this habit in
you, and the wrong judgment it has induced you to
form upon almost every point of conduct that interferes
with your inclination." "And I am sure," sobbed
Walter, I have as much to bear with, for I am always
being scolded for something or another: and I know I
don't deserve it, for I never had a cross word said to
me till I came here, and I feel just as good now as I
did then." "I have no doubt that you do," returned


16






THE YOUNG DISPUTANT.


Mr. Sedley,; "but the truth is this, Walter, you had
precisely the same faults then that you have now : the
only difference with regard to them is, that now you
are told of them, and then you were not; but you make
a great mistake in saying you are scolded, for, in fact,
you are never scolded at all." "Well, brother, I don't
know what you may call scolding," exclaimed Walter,
with a look that said, as plain as look could speak, "I
think now, at any rate, I must know better than you
do." "I will explain myself," resumed Mr. Sedley,
" for I see you have mistaken the meaning of the word.
Scolding signifies not only chiding, but quarrelling, and
is a vulgar expression, wholly misapplied in your case.
I undertake to teach you the difference between right
and wrong; I endeavour to make you love the one and
shun the other. If you mistake admonition and
reasoning for scolding, the fault is yours."
Poor me !" exclaimed Walter, catching at the last
words, without considering what preceded them: "the
fault is mine, as usual; but I do think it very hard to
have a long lecture all about such a trifle as forgetting
to cut open a book." There you mistake again,
Walter," said his patient instructor; your neglecting
to cut open the book began the lecture, as you term it;
but that circumstance has nothing to do with its con-
tinuation : all that has followed is owing to your habit
B2


17






18 NEVER WRONG; OR,

of arguing and defending, instead of acknowledging
and amending your faults." I am sure I don't mean
to say I am never to blame," replied Walter; I know,
of course, that I must be in the wrong sometimes."
" That useless and oft-repeated sometimes," sighed Mr.
Sedley; and why not wrong now, Walter ?" "0 !
not now, brother; I am quite sure that I can prove that
I am not, though I did forget the book," said Walter,
eagerly; "it was all owing to cousin Edmond; he has
been lecturing me in.such a manner on what he calls
my faults." And receiving a lecture on your faults,
you give as a reason for repeating one immediately-I
mean that of forgetting what you ought to have re-
membered," said Mr. Sedley; this is a curious argu-
ment, almost too ingenious even for you, Walter; but
we will pursue this conversation no farther at present.
It was my intention to take you out with me for a ride
to-morrow; but I hope, if your memory is really what
you declare it, it will shew its unfortunate deficiency
by forgetting to remind me of the engagement; for,
to prove it capable of retaining what is agreeable to
yourself, and not what is useful and pleasing to your
friends, is an inconsistency that, with all your fancied
skill in argument, you will, I think, have some difficulty
in reconciling."
Walter, however, was of a very different opinion.






THE YOUNG DISPUTANT.


He thought there would be no difficulty at all." My
brother," said he to himself, on reaching his own room,
" is a good-hearted fellow, but he quite forgets that he
was once a boy, the same as I am; and, forgetting that,
he expects me to be just as thoughtful and serious as he
is. A precious stupid sort of a young-old figure I should
make of myself, going about all day thinking! thinking !
thinking! afraid to play, lest something I have to do
should escape my memory; and then if I remind him
of his promise for to-morrow, he will say I can recollect
just as well as he can, as though it was not a great deal
more natural for me to remember that, than the cutting
open of a stupid book. He ought to know that it is,
instead of blaming me in the way that he does.
Such, and many more like them, were the wise re-
flections of Walter on what his brother had said to him.
Instead of profiting by the good advice he was in the
daily habit of receiving, he had long been inclined to
regard those who told him of his faults, as enemies
more than friends; and, by the same perverted mode
of reasoning and judging, he deemed those boys to be
hypocrites, whose uniform and steady good conduct set
him an example he greatly needed, and would have
done well to have followed.
Now, as Henry was a remarkably quiet child, and the
best behaved of all the little boys, he considered him


19






NEVER WRONG; OR,


to be more pretending and deceitful than any of the
others, and often suspected that the motive of his strict
obedience to Mr. Sedley was that that gentleman might
make comparisons in his favour against the rest, and
him (Walter) in particular. The consequence of this
unfounded and illiberal opinion was a secret ill will,
and often an openly unkind and pettish behaviour to-
wards the child, who bore it with great patience, never
for a moment thinking it possible that so near a relation,
and one he had early been taught to love, could have
any worse inducement for his conduct than the mo-
mentary hasty feeling arising from some outward cause.
Young as he was, he had refrained from angry words or
unkind actions in return; practising the excellent and
pious principle early inculcated, of endeavouring to
overcome evil with good.
But to return to Walter. That ingenious reasoner
in his own favour, having come to the decision that he
was, as usual, blameless, instead of repairing his error,
ran the risk of again forgetting, by resolving first to in-
dulge a sudden fancy to draw a caricature resemblance
of what he chose to imagine little Henry would be at
his age, that is, if he did not become wearied of being
so amiable before that time, or rather, as Walter be-
lieved, so hypocritical. The figure of poor little Henry
was soon sketched, with an enormous wig on his head,


20





THE YOUNG DISPUTANT.


a beard down to his breast, and a pair of spectacles
across his nose; a large volume was under his arm, on
the outside of which was written An Abridgment of
all the Learning in the World. By Master Henry
Sedley, aged twelve years."
Walter was so much pleased with what he considered
to be his cleverness, that he sat chuckling over and
gazing on his picture, whilst his brother's book, that he
ought to have been employed on, remained still on his
desk, in the far end of the second school-room. How
long he might have continued thus lost in self-admira-
tion, had nothing occurred to disturb him, it is im-
possible to say, for he was still contemplating his per-
formance when he heard two or three voices at once
calling him by his name of Never Wrong." Walter,
exceedingly angry, started up, intending to leave the
room and avoid them; but before he could do so, four
or five boys entered, amongst whom was Edmond and
Willoughby. 0! here you are," said one of them;
"but why didn't you answer us? we have been calling
to you for an eternity of time,' as Bombastes' here
would say." You didn't call me by my right name,"
replied Walter, indignantly; "and I shall, of course,
never answer to any other." "0! but you must,
though," said Pemberton, the boy who had spoken first;
" the laws and decrees of Judge Hargrave are never to


21





NEVER WRONG ; OR,


be disputed." Then he should make them better,"
answered Walter, sullenly. That's what you always
say, when they are against yourself," retorted Pemberton;
"but you must learn to own them just, the same as we
do. I had a nickname last year, but I soon got rid of
it; and so may you, if you like to do so." "I only
wish that grandmamma could hear you," said the petted
boy; she would soon let you know what it is to treat
me in this abominable manner." "To be sure she
would," responded Pemberton; she would first trim
our jackets, and then pin us together in a corner with
her knitting-needles, and tell us we should have no
sugar on our bread and butter, till we consented to
spoil her darling, and make him more disagreeable, as
a play and schoolmate, than he is already."
"Order, order, Master Pemberton," said Edmond
Hargrave, who never suffered their joking or finding
fault with each other to be disgraced by ill-nature." "I
must have no rough speaking; we must recollect, in
our game of Laws, that we merely mean to break our-
selves of foolish or bad habits, so that we may live the
happier together, as well as grow up wiser; but this
must be done with perfect good-humour, or else it is no
longer play, and had, therefore, better be let alone.
You must apologise to Walter, for speaking disrespect-
fully of his grandmother, who has meant to be very


22






THE YOUNG DISPUTANT.


kind to him, though, perhaps, she has a little mistaken
the right way in showing it." I own myself wrong,
and beg your pardon, Walter," said Pemberton, with
great good-humour; but you must not mind being
laughed at a little, any more than Don Bombastes'
does; if you do, you have only to make the greater
haste in getting your new name crossed out of Judge
Hargrave's book." I am in hopes," said Willoughby,
" that I have already made TREMENDOUS !-O no, that
is a mistake, I mean to say great-progress in getting
mine of 'Bombastes' erased. I am sure everybody
who has heard me lately must perceive that I take care
to use only the prettiest little quiet words; I expect,
when I go home for the Midsummer holidays, I shall
express myself as though I had learnt to talk out of a
baby's primer, something in this fashion, all in one
syllable :-

How are you, dear pa P
And how is my ma ?
And where is puss cat ?
Can she catch a rat ?
And Wasp, the old dog,
Does he bark at the hog ?
I now have left school
Where I kept to each rule;
So can write, read, and spell,
And have learnt to speak well


23





NEVER WRONG; OR,


In all that I say,
As you hear me to-day;
Which I did not do once,
But I now am no dunce."

"If that is the way you mean to express yourself,"
said Edmond, laughing, "you will only exchange the
name you have at present for another you may not
like so well; therefore be warned in time."
You see now, Walter," said one of his companions,
"how good-naturedly Willoughby takes our laughing
at him; that is just what we want you to do: and
here, too, is Valiant' or Alexander the Great,' as we
sometimes call him: he is as little offended at having
those names given to him as Bombastes' is." "I see
no 'Valiant' here, or 'Alexander' either," returned
Walter; "I only see a young gentleman whom I call
Master Melville, but whom you have thought proper
to affront, the same as you have me." A loud peal of
merry laughter burst from the boys at this grave
speech, delivered too, as it was, with great dignity of
manner. "I will bet you anything," cried Pemberton,
" that Melville, instead of being affronted, is as much
amused as any of us at the joke upon him, and, I dare
say, won't object to my telling you how he got his
title, for I don't think you know, being on a visit at
the time." "With all my heart, Pemberton," said


24






THE YOUNG DISPUTANT.


Melville, you may tell Walter the whole particulars,
if you please."
Well then, Walter," began the narrator, "you must
know that, once upon a time, (as the story books say,)
'Valiant' was seated at a table, on which was a green
baize, and in this green baize was stuck a pin with the
point upwards ; now this terrible and deadly weapon,
being of the smallest kind, was quite unseen by poor
Melville, who in a very brave humour was descanting
on all the great heroes he had read or heard of, from
Alexander the Great down to Jack the Giant Killer;
at length he became so animated with his subject,
that he suddenly raised his hand in an ecstacy, his
eyes looking as bright as the sword he imagined he
was grasping, and declared that he should like, of all
things, to be a great warrior, and die covered with
wounds on the field of battle! So far, so good; but
unfortunately for so heroic a spirit, these words were no
sooner uttered than, in order to testify his earnestness,
he gave the table a great thump with his uplifted
hand, just where the unseen pin was, upon which this
gallant candidate for glory hallooed out in a loud voice,
' Murder fire fury I've pricked my little finger !'
and he has gone by the name of 'Valiant' ever since,
and so he will, till he leaves off his sudden and violent
exclamations on meeting with such trifling hurts; for,






NEVER WRONG ; OR,


as we are not so brave as he is, we are afraid that he
will frighten us some day out of our wits; and we
shall call Willoughby Bombastes' till he gets rid of
his horribles, miserables, and abominables and such
like superlatives, all about nothing." Here's some
lines in character for 'Bombastes,'" said Melville,
against Twelfth-night, as his mother has promised him
a cake. Shall I read them ? "Not till I have seen
them," interposed Judge Edmond, "for I must be
certain they will not offend before I give permission,
and not then, unless Willougby allows it too." The
lines were accordingly handed over to Hargrave, who,
when he had looked them through, gave them to the
youth for whom they were intended, telling him to do
as he pleased about them.
O do let us hear them !" cried several voices at
once; and Willoughby, after shaking his head in pre-
tended displeasure, and saying it was a great deal too
bad of them to expect it, read as follows :-

'I'm so TERRIBLY hungry, it's so DRADFULLY late,
And what an IMMENSELY long time I must wait,
Before this ENORMOUS-this WONDERFUL cake
Will be made, and the HORRIBLE baker will bake:
And when it at last from the oven shall come,
It perhaps will be WRETCHEDLY-MIS'RABLY done;
Or Ma may forget, and with a great key
In the ABOMINABLE cupboard lock it from me ;


26






TIE YOUNG DISPUTANT.


Or, if I should get it, the next HORRID news
Will be, I've a character HATEFUL to choose,
Yet no anger I'll feel, but of my cake nice
Give all the boys round a TREMENDOUS large slice.'

I am sure that will be very generous of me," said
Willoughby, after your making so much fun of my
favourite words, as you call them. What do you say,
Judge Hargrave ?" "I say that I think so too," re-
turned Edmond; yet I give it as my further opinion,
that there is no offence to be taken against Melville,
for by shewing Willoughby how absurdly such ex-
pressions sound, as applied on common occasions, we
shall not only greatly help to break him of them, but
deter others who might, from his example, acquire the
same habit." "And I think it a great affront," chimed
in Walter, "to have such rubbish as that written upon
anybody, and I only wonder that Willoughby has not
more spirit than to put up with it; for my part, I am
glad that I have too much proper pride and good sense
to be so easily and so ill-naturedly amused; and so
saying, he turned to leave the room with a look of
great contempt at the other boys.
0 don't stalk off in that way, like a tragedy king,"
exclaimed Pemberton, placing his back against the
door; "you know we came here on purpose to seek
you; we want you to tell us what sort of weather it


27






NEVER WRONG; OR,


will be the day after to-morrow." There's a question
for people who think themselves wiser than everybody
else cried Walter, exultingly. Not than everybody,
only everybody but you, Walter," said Hargrave; you,
you know, are never wrong." "And, therefore, must
be always right," interposed another of the boys;
" and, that being the case, we thought we could not do
better than ask you what sort of weather it would be
the day after to-morrow, because of our settling our
skating party."
"What nonsense exclaimed Walter. "Not at all
nonsense," said the other; "for we have often heard
you say, when your walks over to your grandmother's
have been put off for another week, that you knew it
would rain or snow on that particular day to which it
was put off; so we were thinking that, if you could tell
us on one Wednesday or Saturday what sort of weather
it would be on the Wednesday or Saturday following,
you would be still more certain as to what it will be
on the day after to-morrow; this is what I was calling
to you for." "And I wanted to tell you, Walter,"
said Melville, "that my ball which you lost the other
day, has been found in Farmer Blake's kitchen; you
had thrown it through a pane in the window, which
he says you must have mended." "I dare say, indeed !"
replied Walter, ever ready at self-justification, "as


28






THE YOUNG DISPUTANT.


though I could see his window with all those ridiculous
shrubs about it." "Those ridiculous shrubs, as you
now term them," observed Hargrave, I have heard
you say, were the prettiest group of evergreens you
had ever seen." Well, and if I did," answered the
young sophist, I never said it was right to hide a
window with them." "But you knew that they di,'
hide a window," rejoined Edmond. But if I did,"
replied the uncandid boy, how was I to know that he
had glazed it with such stupid thin glass, that such a
light ball would break it ? Besides, after all, it is only
an accident, and who can help an accident ? I neither
expect to pay for it, or to be blamed either."
"To be sure you don't," said Melville; "you never
do for anything. When you lost my ball, instead of
owning yourself in fault, you told me I made more fuss
about it than it was worth, and that was all the con-
solation I got; you answered my complaints by telling
me you couldn't help it, it was an accident." Well,
and so it was," reiterated Walter; "and who, I should
like to know, can help meeting with an accident ? "
"Those who bestow a little more care and thought
than you do on what they are about," remarked Har-
grave. "Don't say another word upon the subject,
Hargrave," interrupted Pemberton; "I am delighted
to hear Never Wrong's' opinion concerning the


29






NEVER WRONG; OR,


excusable nature of an accident, and that nobody can
avoid meeting with them, for I have been distressing
myself very much about one that has happened to
the kite he lent me."
Walter turned very pale on hearing this, for his kite
was a valuable one, and he wished he had not spoken
so decidedly. What has happened to it ?" he faltered
out. Why, somehow," replied Pemberton, "the tail
must have got loose after I had placed the kite upon
the desk and against the wall; I am afraid it attracted
the notice of my cat, who was playing in the room at the
time, for when I returned there an hour or two after-
wards, I found it on the ground with Mistress Puss
frisking over it, and three large holes made in the
middle of it." Walter was for some time silent; he
was searching his mind, or more properly speaking, his
imagination, for arguments by which he might prove,
that though his own case of the ball and broken
window was an accident, that of his kite was not. To
do this he found a more difficult attempt at reasoning
than any he had yet made; but he had been so long
accustomed to consider himself in the right and others
in the wrong, that he felt no doubt as to the fact, and
trusted he should be able to prove that it was so to the
rest. Luckily for him in his present dilemma, Pember-
ton spoke again, before receiving an answer, and, by


30






THE YOUNG DISPUTANT.


what he now said, gave Walter an opportunity for his
false mode of reasoning. "I am very sorry that your
kite has got torn," resumed Pemberton, though I don't
think I am much to blame about it, for you will re-
member being in the room at the time that I folded
the tail as it is usually done, and very carefully as I
thought; and"-" As you thought!" interrupted
Walter; now I know how my poor kite became torn;
the tail was not folded carefully, and so puss got hold
of it; you ought to have been sure that you placed it
safely, and not trusted to thinking that you had done
so." "You speak," replied Pemberton, "as though
you understood I was only thinking now that I had
secured it, and not at the time, which is what I meant:
it is then that I thought it was quite safe; but cats
are often ingenious in their play, as well as mischievous."
"And if you know that they are so," rejoined Walter,
"I can't think how you can call what has happened
to my kite an accident, and I see no excuse at all
for it."
No more than there is," interposed Hargrave, "for
your carelessly playing at ball close to shrubs, behind
which you know there is a window." I don't see
any likeness at all between the two cases," replied
Walter, impatiently. I dare say that you do not,"
said his cousin, because in the case of the kite you


31





NEVER WRONG ; OR,


are the injured party, and in that of the ball the
injurer."
"I have not yet finished what I was saying. When
Walter interrupted me," said Pemberton, I was going
to remind him that I placed his kite where I did at
his own desire. You will remember, Walter," he added,
"that you said, Let it be there, Pemberton, and, when
I go up stairs, I will take it with me, and put it away.' "
Walter was not at all pleased with this finish of what
he had so exultingly broken in upon. Wilful falsehood
was not among his faults; and, perfectly recollecting
that he had thus spoken, he immediately acknowledged
that he had. "But," added he, "I forgot it then, and
how could I help that ? Pemberton is still to blame,
for he knows what a bad memory I have, and he ought,
therefore, to have reminded me to take my kite up-
stairs before he left the room, and not let me run the
risk of forgetting it."
"Well done! Never Wrong' again," shouted the
boys.
"I wonder, Walter," said one of them, "if the bell
didn't ring for our meals, and nobody called you,
whether you would remember in what order they came.
I should not be surprised to hear you ask for breakfast
at tea time, and fancy supper was dinner." Or," said
another, with such a dreadful bad memory as you make


32





THE YOUNG DISPUTANT.


yours out to be, that you should forget to take some of
your clothes off when you go to bed, and so lie down
with your boots on, as winter socks, and your hat,
instead of a night-cap, wondering all night what makes
you so uncomfortable. Perhaps, by and by, you will
be like the absent man, who, entirely forgetting what
he was about, put his wet umbrella into the bed and
himself in the corner."
"I am not going to answer any such nonsense as
that," returned Walter, angrily; "and as for you,
Pemberton, I can't think why you should be allowed
to have such a mishievous beast as a cat."
"You forget, in your displeasure about your kite,"
observed Hargrave, "that it was yourself who begged
Mr. Sedley to let Pemberton keep poor puss, when he
so humanely saved it from the cruel boys who were
going to destroy it." Then, as I did that," replied the
young disputant, "it ought to have made the cat's
master more careful that she shouldn't do me a mischief,
whatever she might the others: it is very hard that
what I meant as a kindness to him should be a vexa-
tion and a loss to me. I never saw anything like you
all," he added passionately; "let me reason ever so
well, there is no convincing you. I wish there was
not a cat in the whole world." "And yet you are
afraid of rats, and dislike mice," said Hargrave. "And
c2


33





NEVER WRONG; OR,


I know that you like plenty of light," observed
Willoughby." Yet, for all this," rejoined Hargrave,
laughing, "Walter would have windows glazed with
horn, that he might play near without danger of
breaking them, and have the house overrun with vermin,
because it is too much trouble for him to remember
and think of consequences, as other people do; and
this he calls reasoning well." "You are all mighty
clever, I dare say," cried Walter, with increasing dis-
pleasure ; and you are, every one of you, ready enough
to blame me,-that I will say,-but I know better than
to mind you; for though, of course, I must be wrong
sometimes, the same as you and everybody else in the
world are, I am not wrong now, except, indeed, in being
too good-natured; for there isn't a boy anywhere would
bear such lecturing from his schoolfellows as I do;
but I'll take good care to mend that fault; and to
begin, I declare, from this moment, I will never lend
anything to anybody again, let them ask me ever so."
"Then, of course, you don't mean to borrow," said
Hargrave; "and in that case, cousin Walter, I fancy
you will be the greatest loser; for where you lend one
thing, you generally borrow at least half a dozen."
"Come, Walter," said Pemberton, good-humouredly,
seeing he was about to leave the room much offended,
"don't let us part in anger; you pay Farmer Blake


34






THE YOUNG DISPUTANT.


for his broken window, and I will buy you a new
kite."
"You may buy me a new kite," answered the self-
sufficient boy, "if you think you ought to do so: I
don't want it, unless you do; and when I feel certain
that it is right for me to have the window mended, I
will have it done, but not before."
0 poor, poor Farmer Blake," cried several voices.
"It he waits for 'Never Wrong' to glaze his broken
pane," said one, "he won't have to complain of want
of air in his kitchen during the winter." Or dust in
the summer," observed another, "if that is any ad-
vantage to him." You may say whatever you please:
I don't care," replied Walter, going; but I shall
remember you all, that you may depend upon." We
will hope, at least, Walter," said Hargrave, that, as
you are so apt to forget, you will not remember any-
thing that has seemed unkind or ill-natured towards
you, and that, when you join us in the playground, as
we hope you will, we shall all meet again with the
good feeling that schoolboys should bear to each other."


35







NEVER WRONG ; OR,


CHAPTER III.

WALTER, dissatisfied with his companions, and alto-
gether in a very uncomfortable state of mind, went into
his own room. When there, he began, as soon as his
agitation subsided, to reflect on the loss of his kite, and
that, in all probability, he should have to pay Farmer
Blake forhis window, in spite of his recent determination
not to do so. Though in the heat of his anger he thought
he could justify himself, and avoid the consequences of
his thoughtlessness and pertinacity, yet, as he began to
cool, he could not help acknowledging to himself that
he was, perhaps, not always so entirely free from blame
as he had hitherto imagined. He, for the first time,
began to think that it might be taking too much credit
to himself to suppose that the whole school, with the
teachers, and his brother at the head of all, must be
wrong in their judgments, whenever faults were at-
tributed to him, and yet right, when they imputed
blame to others. He was aroused from these medita-
tions, so fortunately at last begun, by a gentle touch on
his arm, and, raising his eyes from the floor, to which
they had been directed, he beheld his little nephew
Henry.


36






THE YOUNG DISPUTANT.


Dear Walter," he said, with great earnestness, "I
wanted so to see you when nobody was by." I wish
you wouldn't come teasing me just now," returned
Walter, with his usual pettishness, and forgetting at
the moment all the wise reflections he had been en-
gaged in."
"Don't be angry with me," said the child, his eyes
filling with tears; I have only come to tell you papa
has just desired me to go into the school-room, to see
if the book he gave you to cut open is still lying on
your desk undone, for if it is, he said I was to do it,
and bring it him afterwards."
"Oh, dear, dear!" exclaimed Walter, "I have
quite forgot it again. I do think there's a spell
set on me." "A spell! what's that ?" inquired
Henry. "You won't understand me, even if I
take the trouble to explain it," returned his un-
gracious young uncle; "it's a fate,-a sort of power
that makes everything go wrong, and we can't help
ourselves."
"I should think that couldn't be," said Henry,
"only that, you being so much older than I am, I
suppose you must know best." "And why do you
think it can't be?" inquired Walter. "Because,"
replied the well-taught child, I think if I was told
to do anything I was able to do, nothing would put


37






NEVER WRONG; OR,


it out of my head, for two good reasons." "And
what are they, pray? asked Walter, with his usual
habit of disputation. "The first reason would be,"
answered Henry, "because I was desired to do it; and
the second would be, if I had promised to do it,
that I ought to keep my word." "But suppose you
were ever told to do what you thought a hard
task, or perhaps something wrong rejoined Walter,
in a true spirit of cavilling. "Why, then," replied
the little boy, "I would'nt trust to my thinking so,
but I would ask papa, or somebody else wiser and
older than myself, whether it was wrong or not; but
as for spells and fates hindering me, I never heard
of them before, and I don't know what they mean."
" So much the better for you," said Walter, with
a long-drawn sigh. "I wish that I could say the
same; but with me everything goes wrong."
Perhaps, Walter, that is because you don't try hard
enough to make everything go right, but you will say,
as you have done before, that it is very impudent of
me to seem to teach you, who ought, of course, to
know so much better than I do."
Ought, indeed repeated Walter to himself; "but
do I ?" This was the only time he had ever so ques-
tioned himself, and it led him into a long train of
thought, which the child again interrupted. "Instead


38






THE YOUNG DISPUTANT.


of cutting open the book," he said, I have brought it
up to you under my pincloth, that, if I met anybody,
they might not see it. I thought you would feel vexed
at having it done for you, and perhaps, too, papa might
be angry, and it would then be too late to make amends
by remembering it."
"And are you so willing," inquired Walter, as he
took the book, "to give up the praise I know my
brother would bestow on you, and, perhaps, reward,
too, for doing what he told you with once bidding ? "
"I hope, Walter," replied Henry, colouring, and with
a gravity beyond his age, "that you think letter of
me than to suppose I can have any pleasure in
being praised for doing what you would be blamed for
leaving undone. I could not bear to be so ill-natured,
and to you, too, whom I could love so very much,
if you would let me." The eye of Henry at that
moment resting on a piece of paper Walter had
unconsciously held half-folded in his hand, he asked
him to permit him to look at it, for he saw that it was
a drawing.
A blush of shame burnt on the cheek of Walter at
this request; it was the first time so deep a colour had
appeared there, arising from such a cause. He looked
for a moment at the caricature, and then at little
Henry, and he thought that the right-minded, warm-


39





NEVER WRONG; OR,


hearted boy, and his sensible father, both deserved
something better of him than to be made subjects for
his ridicule and ill-humour, and that he would have
been more properly employed in doing what his brother
had requested of him than in wasting his time on the
performance that had, an hour ago, given him so much
satisfaction.
Never mind," said Henry, perceiving an unwilling-
ness in Walter to show the picture; "perhaps you had
rather not let me see it. And now I must go, for I
should not like papa to know I brought you that book,
and I shall be so pleased to tell him you are doing it;
so pray begin at once, that I may say so with truth;
there's the paper-knife in it; and as your memory is
so bad, Walter, wouldn't it be a good way for you to
do everything you are told directly, instead of trusting
to it? But don't be angry with me for saying so."
Henry now quitted him, and Walter was left again to
his own reflections, as he pursued his long-neglected
task.
It is said that Experience keeps both a very dear
and a very severe school as to discipline, yet, I am
sorry to say, there are many little folk who refuse to
learn in any other; and so it was with Walter Sedley.
Precept, admonition, and example, had long been
thrown away upon him; but to-day seemed fated to


40






THE YOUNG DISPUTANT.


give him a lesson he could not mistake. He was re-
joiced at being saved the mortification of having the
book opened by Henry instead of himself, and his
heart, in consequence, warmed with a feeling of thank-
fulness and affection, all the unjust suspicions, and the
unkindness of his conduct to the generous and affec-
tionate child, rushed upon his mind, and inflicted a
severe pang of self-reproach. He could no longer
resist the conviction that he had at least judged
wrongly of his young nephew, and he asked himself
whether he might not also be mistaken in thinking his
brother severe, Hargrave his enemy, and the other
boys all disposed to treat him ill; he could not but
perceive that the rest of the school bore with perfect
good-humour the judgments and names awarded by
his cousin, and made them a sport amongst them-
selves, instead of a mortification or a punishment; in
addition to all this (for Walter was much humbled
in spirit) he felt that it would be shabby to expect
a new kite from Pemberton, and that he should, in all
probability, be obliged to have Farmer Blake's window
mended.
He was ashamed to remind his brother of the en-
gagement for to-morrow, since he had again forgotten
the book, and he thought how false and mean-spirited
it would be to take any commendation from him for


41






NEVER WRONG; OR,


having done it at last. Such was the wholesome train
of thought that now passed through the mind of
Walter.
Had Pemberton, on the accident happening, supplied
him with a new kite,-had the Farmer not demanded
payment for his window, and, above all, had Henry
cut open the book, instead of bringing it to him, no
such ideas as those with which he was now impressed,
would have occurred to him, and he would still have
been the wrong-judging, disputatious, and petulant boy
we have hitherto seen him; yet, though such a change
had come over him, his reformation was by no means
complete; old habits, especially bad ones, are not so
suddenly got rid of. Walter was still too anxious for
the promised ride, to act as he ought to have done;
that is, to have acknowledged his inattention to Mr.
Sedley, and to have told him of how much more Henry
deserved his commendation than he did; such a piece
of open and good conduct was more than he had
resolution for at present; but he satisfied his conscience
for concealing the fact, in a better manner than he had
hitherto done in persuading himself that he was in the
right, though, in order to do so, he had affirmed all
those who gave judgment against him were wholly in
the wrong; he, on the contrary, this time, resolved
that the next praise he obtained should be fairly earned,


42





THE YOUNG DISPUTANT.


and that he would, in the meantime, endeavour to find
out whether his memory was in truth so bad as he
supposed it. Here was another step gained on the
road of improvement.
Mr. Sedley, in the course of the evening, discovered,
by Walter's giving him much more than usual of his
company in the parlour, by his frequent allusions to
the weather, and other indications, what was passing
in his mind with regard to the ride for the morrow;
but he resolved not to notice them openly, hoping that
the feeling of shame, which was so evidently struggling
with the fear of losing the promised indulgence, would
gain the victory.
It happened as he wished it should: Walter went to
bed, without reminding him of the engagement. It
was not Mr. Sedley's intention to try his strength too
far; satisfied with the progress he had made in one
day, he would not expose him to the temptation of
breaking his good resolution on the next; he, therefore,
at breakfast-time, spoke of the ride himself, and desired
him to get ready, and this, too, in a manner that
showed Walter it was meant to be considered as en-
couragement for further good behaviour. Walter,
delighted, not only spent a very pleasant day at the
house of one of Mrs. Sedley's relations, but thought
proper to behave to that lady and his brother with


43




44 NEVER WRONG; OR,

something more like respect and humility than he
had hitherto done; and, besides, treated Henry (who
accompanied them) with a show of affection and
kindness that made the good little boy perfectly
happy. But still, Walter's reformation was, as yet,
only in progress.





THE YOUNG DISPUTANT.


CHAPTER IV.

THE frost having now set in for some time, the follow-
ing day was fixed on by the young gentlemen of the
village for the skating party, and all the boys who were
spending their holidays at Mr. Sedley's set off, under
the care of a trusty servant, who was directed to see
that they went into no danger, but kept to the one pond
they were accustomed to, the water of which was ex-
ceedingly shallow. All went on very well for the first
hour, but, at the end of that time, Walter proposed
trying another pond, of which there were many, and
much larger than the one they were on. "See," he
said, how nicely those boys get on out yonder; this
is so narrow; we shall have so much more room at the
next, and there is nobody there to interrupt us." "All
tht is very true, to be sure," replied Pemberton, to
whom he had been speaking; but, then, you know,
Mr. Sedley told us only to skate here, because the
water here is shallow, and there it may be very deep."
"Of course," rejoined Walter, it is very right of my
brother to be careful of us, but then there is such a
thing as being over careful, you know." No doubt
there is," returned Pemberton, but that, if a fault, is






NEVER WRONG; OR,


at least, one on the right side, so we will stay where
we are."
Walter was in high spirits from the effects of
exercise in the open air. 4e was, though so young, a
good skater, and had received several compliments,
that had not only increased his exhilaration, but created
a strong desire to give a further display of his clever-
ness. The wise reflections and good resolutions of
yesterday were alike forgotten, and his long-indulged
propensity to argue that he was right, because he
wanted to do what was wrong, again took possession
of his mind.
My brother," said he, "tells us to go to this pond,
as a general rule, without considering it sometimes
freezes so hard that it is as safe on another as it is on
this; and that is the case to-day." "That is very
likely," replied Pemberton; "but for all that, as Mr.
Sedley desired us to skate here, in order to prevent even
the possibility of an accident, this is the pond for us;
we ought certainly not to attempt any other; neither
do I think John would let us, if we designed to do so."
That's well thought of," cried Walter: if we go
we must give the old fellow the slip." Indeed I shall
do no such thing, nor let you either," said Pemberton.
" It's very hard indeed," returned the wilful boy, "to
be always thwarted in one's pleasures for nothing; I am






THE YOUNG DISPUTANT.


sure if my brother were here, he would make no objec-
tion, and therefore it is just the same as though he were
here." Not quite, I should think," observed Har-
grave, who had been listening to the dialogue; for in
one case we should have Mr. Sedley's own word, and
in the other we have only Walter's opinion of what
that word might be." I am sure of one thing, how-
ever," cried Walter, angrily, "and that is, cousin
Edmond, that you are always willing to prevent my
having any pleasure that I set my mind on." "I must
still bear with your ill-will and pettishness," returned
Hargrave, mildly, for the sake of serving you, for I
shall continue to point out where you are wrong, to
the best of my ability, till you have the good sense to
perceive it yourself. A direction given to us by my
cousin Mr. Sedley ought not to be departed from,
unless he is on the spot to sanction our doing so;
though all appears safe and right on the other ponds,
yet who can tell what may possibly happen should we
disobey the orders we received at setting out ? "
"O, Never Wrong' can tell, to be sure," said Pem-
berton, laughing: "the next pond is as safe as this, of
course, if he wants to go on it." "If I am to have
that stupid name, I may as well have it for something,"
cried Walter, reddening with passion, "and I'll go, if
it's only to convince Pemberton that I am right now,


47





NEVER WRONG ; OR,


at any rate, in reality." Worth while, to be sure,"
replied Pemberton, "for you to risk incurring your
brother's displeasure, and perhaps an accident, for
the sake of convincing me. Come, Walter, don't be
wilful and foolish; forgive and forget, you know."
" You forget to call me by that foolish nickname, and
then, perhaps I may forgive your ill-behaviour," replied
Walter, magnificently; "but, for all you can say, I
won't believe that the next pond is less safe than this
is. What should make it sot" "I will tell you,"
said Hargrave : "this is more shaded by trees, and
that is more exposed to the sun."
This was indeed the case, and, owing to that circum-
stance, some of the neighboring cottagers had chosen
that pond in preference to the others, for the purpose
of supplying themselves with water, and had broken
the ice at the far end of it, so that they could throw a
pail in with a string to it, and pull it out again without
danger to themselves. This was of course unknown
to the little party from the school.
"However," resumed Hargrave, aglin al ddlresingih
Walter, "as it seems impossible to convince you by
argument of either the propriety of doing as you are
bid, or that the other pond may be less safe than this,
we will, for your satisfaction, just go and try its
strength." "That's right," cried Walter, triumphantly;


48






THE YOUNG DISPUTANT.


"I thought I should be able to show you the folly
of not doing so." Softly, Master Watty: not
quite so fast, if you please," said Hargrave; I may
perhaps be able to shew you that the folly is all your
own."
He then called to the other boys and John, and
told them, that, to please Walter, he was going to try
the ice on the next pond with some long poles they
had with them, and stones,-not that he, or any of
them, he assured John, meant to go on it, however
firm it might be found. They then all proceeded
together. Walter had by this time not only worked
himself into a firm conviction that he was right, but
was bent on the triumph of proving that he was so;
therefore, the moment that they reached the edge of
\the pond, he threw his skates upon the ground, and
before any one could be aware of his intention, he had
slid into the middle of it, when, waving his hand
exultingly as he turned his head towards the com-
panions he had left, instead of looking before him,
he gave another slide, and in the next moment
wholly disappeared, having slid into the hole already
mentioned.
Hargrave, only waiting to rid himself of his shoes,-
his worstead stockings enabling him, with the help
of a pole, to walk on the ice, lost not an instant in
D 2






NEVER WRONG; OR,


hurrying to his assistance, regardless of danger to
himself. Fortunately for Walter, who might other-
wise have been drowned, some boys had early in the
morning amused themselves with throwing heavy
stones around the hole previously made, so that the
ice there was broken to a considerable extent, and was
floating about in large fragments. Walter had risen
near the same spot at which he had gone down, and
had instinctively caught at a long slip of ice, over
which he got his arm just as Edmond came up;
another moment and his brittle support might have
broken from the main body, to which it was still
attached, and have sunk with his weight. Hargrave
placed his pole across from the ice on which he stood,
to a firm piece opposite, and then, trusting his weight
to its support, let himself down into the water, moving
with his hands along the pole till he reached Walter,
whose grasp he directed to the same object. By this
time the rest had run round the pond, to the same
spot, and by their assistance, though not without
considerable difficulty, both Walter and his preserver
were extricated from their perilous situation, amid the
tears of joy and exclamations of thankfulness uttered
by the attached group that thronged around them; for
Hargrave was, as he well deserved to be, a most
especial favourite, and Walter's faults and ill-behaviour


50






THE YOUNG DISPUTANT.


were almost forgotten in their rejoicing at his safety.
More dead than alive, through terror and mortification,
the so lately exulting and self-sufficient boy was
almost carried home by John, one of the boys running
on first, to tell what had happened, in order to prevent
unnecessary alarm on their arrival. Both Edmond and
Walter were put into warm beds, and a medical man
directly sent for. On his arrival he gave it as his
opinion that a fever would be the consequence of
Walter's folly and misconduct, owing to the state of
excitement he had been and was still in; Hargrave,
he said, was in no danger. Both judgments proved
correct ; for some days Walter's life was nearly despaired
of; but the skill of his physician, and the great attention
he received from everybody, even those he had in his
pe averted judgment called his enemies, at length re-
stored him, after a confinement of many weeks to a
sick chamber.
In the course of this tedious period, he had plenty
of leisure to reflect on his past conduct; he shuddered
when he thought of how nearly he had lost his life,
by his habit of arguing falsely; he could no longer
conceal from himself, that in reasoning he had allowed
inclination rather than judgment to suggest what he
said; he perceived, too, that he was equally in error
in the character and motives of conduct he had


51






NEVER WRONG; OR,


attributed to others; Hargrave, whom he had long
thought to have ill-treated him, had risked his own
life to save him; little Henry had clearly proved
himself to be his friend, even before that never-to-be-
forgotten day of the accident; and, then, his brother!
his patient, sensible, and good brother! How,"
said Walter, to himself, shall I ever be able to make
up for my ungrateful conduct to him That brother
whose understanding he had often dared to treat as
inferior to his own, whom he had believed capable
of allowing himself to be prejudiced against him,
and whom he had often designated as harsh and
severe, and consequently unjust; that brother had
attended him through a long illness, with the patience
and solicitude of a parent, sitting up with him for
several nights, to the injury of his own health,
forbearing to reproach him with his misconduct and
disobedience, though he was so extremely culpable,
but, on the contrary, only kindly encouraging his
reformation.
The veil of self-deception was at length completely
withdrawn, and Walter, far more exalted by his
humility than he was in his arrogance, saw all his
conduct in its true light; nor was he backward in
acknowledging that he did so.
More than two months elapsed before he was able


52





THE YOUNG DISPUTANT. 53

to rejoin the boys in their pastimes, and when he did,
the first thing he observed in their play-room was
Hargrave's book of cases and judgments, with the
offensive name completely erased, and a challenge
written, to fight with snowballs any boy who should
presume to again call Master Walter Sedley

"NEVER WRONG ; or, THE YOUNG DISPUTANT."















"IT WAS ONLY IN FUN."












"IT WAS ONLY IN FUN."




CHAPTER I.

"Do you know, Miss Vernon, whether any accident
occurred from the log of wood being thrown across the
railway yesterday ?" inquired George Markham, as he
was walking'with that lady and her pupil, his little
cousin Mary. I hope, and, indeed, believe not, re-
plied Miss Vernon, for it is said that some one saw
it in time to remove it before the train came up; other-
wise several of the carriages might have been over-
turned, and then, perhaps, even loss of lives might
have been the consequence." "How lucky!" ex-
claimed George. In speaking of so serious an event
as escaping such dreadful mischief," rejoined Miss
Vernon, "you should call it providential." Well,
perhaps I should," said young Markham, carelessly,
" but one can't can't always think of the right word."
Miss Vernon looked grave, and even sad, for she






IT WAS ONLY IN FUN.


had frequently before remarked the light manner in
which this youth was inclined both to think and to
utter his thoughts. Referring to what he had said, she
replied, Perhaps not, Master Markham, when speak-
ing on trifling subjects; but on such a one as this,
where a number of persons might have been killed,
and whole families, in consequence, plunged into sorrow
and poverty, I should suppose that the right expression
would naturally arise in your mind, in preference to any
other. Let us imagine, for a moment, that Mr. Jolliffe,
who you know lives with your uncle, instead of re-
turning from London a fortnight ago, had come yester-
day, as he had first intended, and had been overturned
in one of those carriages, and, at least, seriously injured,
how would you have felt then "
"0 I should have been most dreadfully sorry,"
replied George, earnestly, "for if Mr. Jolliffe had been
laid up ill, or lamed, the house would have been dull
indeed, he is always so good-humoured and merry. I
don't know, I'm sure, how I should get on the whole
summer in this stupid village uncle has fixed on to
reside in, without Mr. Jolliffe."
As you value that gentleman so much on account
of his being MERRY," replied Miss Vernon, "I hope
you have remarked and set some store on his being
WISE at the same time. 'Merry and wise,' you know,






IT WAS ONLY IN FUN.


should always go together." "I dare say they should,"
returned George, in the same careless tone as before;
"but as long as I can have the 'merry,' I don't care
over much about the 'wise.' "Perhaps that," said
Miss Vernon, "was the feeling of the wicked boy who
placed the log across the railway; for, on being found
out, and asked why he did it, he said, It was only in
fun.'" "Good gracious !" exclaimed George, indig-
nantly, "what a stupid and bad fellow he must be!
What fun could there possibly be in risking people's
lives and limbs in that way "None at all, cer-
tainly," replied Miss Vernon; "neither did he think
there was any. It is evident, from his examination,
on being found out yesterday, that he had no intention
of such serious mischief as might have happened, but
merely meant to frighten the people in the carriages
by a sudden jolt in crossing over the log. Like many
other persons who are fond of playing tricks, he did
not give himself the trouble or care to consider what
might really be the consequences of it." "I can see
no joke in it at all," persisted George. "As you said
before, only think how shocking it would have been
had Mr. Jolliffe been hurt by it. He must be a very
good-for-nothing boy, and ought to be well punished."
"Your indignation is very just, and I am pleased to
see it," returned Miss Vernon ; "any person who, for


-59






IT WAS ONLY IN FUN.


the sake of a jest, does that which may produce injury
to another, however unpremeditated the evil, is guilty
of a wicked act, and ought not to complain, even
should he be punished as though he had designed all
the mischief his thoughtlessness may lead to."
"And yet," said little Mary, who had listened
attentively, Cousin George will scarcely believe that;
for I have often heard him say, when, by some trick or
rough play, he has frightened or hurt any of us, that
we shouldn't make a fuss about it, for he only did it in
fun." Just the same as that boy," said Miss Vernon.
"Yes," cried George, "I know I have; but then I
never did, nor ever thought of doing anything so
stupid or wrong as throwing a log of wood across a
railroad." "If it be wrong," interposed Miss Vernon,
"to play off a trick that may end in mischief, on a
railway, it must be wrong to do anything in 'fun,' as
you call it, which may produce mischief, however
trifling, anywhere else. Besides, Master George, the
habit is a bad one; and, though begun at first in a
game of play, may, if indulged in, finish in something
very serious. I dare say the boy we have been speak-
ing of had played many pranks of a lesser kind, before
he became thoughtless and wicked enough to risk over-
turning a train of carriages at full speed. Few persons
arrive at a great height of vice or folly at once, but go


60






IT WAS ONLY IN FUN.


quietly and slowly on, step by step, though some much
faster than others."
At this moment their attention was diverted from
the subject on which they were speaking, by the sound
of angry voices at no great distance. On turning
round a corner of the road, they saw two boys
struggling together; the biggest had got the head of
the other under his arm, and was cuffing him on the
back with hearty good-will.
George, forgetting in a moment what little gravity
Miss Vernon's last address to him had occasioned,
burst into a loud laugh. Little Mary shrunk away
frightened, whilst Miss Vernon, going up to the boys,
desired the big one to let the other go, and then in-
quired what was the matter. "Matter enough," replied
Tom Hobbs, the big boy, angrily. "He left the gate
open of that field you see there, and, by doing so, has
let the horses, and cows, and donkeys out, that it was
meant to keep in."
Well, and if I did, I only did as the gate told me,"
replied Soft Johnny,-for that was the name the very
simple younger lad was known by in the village;
' mother can't afford to pay my schooling for nothing,
and Dame says I must do as I'm bid." "What do you
mean by the gate telling you ?" inquired Miss Vernon.
" Why, it's writ on it," returned Johnny, "'Please not


61







IT WAS ONLY IN FUN.


to shut this gate.'" "It's no such thing," eagerly
interrupted Tom Hobbs; and if you will just take
the trouble, ma'am, to come and look, you will see, that,
instead of 'NOT,' the words are Please to shut this
gate.' It is done with a piece of red stuff, in great
letters, as big and as plain as the nose on his face."
"And nothing can be plainer than that, I'm sure,"
said George Markham, staring at the poor boy, and
looking as though he had some secret cause of merri-
ment besides.
Now, whether Tom Hobbs felt some shame for his
behaviour to Soft Johnny, or whether, though he had
no objection to treat him roughly himself, he did not
choose that any other boy should do so, I cannot tell;
he was, perhaps, merely offended, and resentful at
George's laughing when he was vexed. But, however
all this may be, he turned sharply round to that young
gentleman, saying, I suppose, sir, he is as God made
him, and you are no better;" adding in a muttering
tone, to himself, "and, very likely, a great deal
worse.'
Miss Vernon, though she heard these words, forbore
to notice them, aware that the reproof was well
merited; and, in order to prevent an answer on the
part of George, that might lead to something more
angry from the young peasant, she immediately, with


62






IT WAS ONLY IN FUN.


the rest, crossed over to the field spoken of. She wished,
too, to gratify the lad, by seeing what was really written
on the gate. When there, to the great astonishment
of Tom Hobbs, she saw that Soft Johnny had read
aright; there it was, in great red letters, Please NOT
to shut this gate," "It is very strange," she said, "I
think I have noticed this gate before, as having a
very different direction on it, indeed, quite a contrary
one; and, now that I look at it more particularly, I
can see that the word 'NOT,' though done with the
same material and colour, is in another hand-writing.
I believe," she added, after a pause, I can guess all
about it. When the direction was first written, the
word 'Please' having been placed a good way off the
word 'to,' some mischievous person has put 'NOT'
between; and this poor boy, knowing no better, but
thinking he was doing right, left it open, instead of
shutting it after him."
Whoever it is that has done it," said Tom Hobbs,
rubbing out the word as well as he could with the
sleeve of his jacket, and then scratching it over with a
stone, I only wish that I could come across him; see
if I wouldn't serve him as I did Soft Johnny here, only
a pretty deal worse." What a fuss about nothing !"
cried George Markham, contemptuously; "and what
a stupid fellow you must be not to see, in a moment,


63





IT WAS ONLY IN FUN.


that, whoever has done it, has done it only in fun.'"
" You may call me stupid, sir, if you please," replied
Tom Hobbs, "but whoever calls mischief 'fun,'. is, I
think, a pretty deal stupider ; even Soft Johnny knows
better than that, and is too fond and proud of his
schooling not to have learnt it, if he didn't." I'm
sure, Tom Hobbs, I didn't do it," cried Johnny; "I
don't go to school for nothing; and Dame says, 'We
mustn't do evil, even though good may come of it;'
so I'm sure I ought not to do wrong that mischief
may."
This poor boy, with all his simplicity," said Miss
Vernon, addressing Tom Hobbs, is more truly wise
than many amongst you who call him by so offensive
a name; I hope you will leave off yourself, and persuade
others to do the same." "I owe him a good turn for
having thrashed him for nothing," replied Tom Hobbs;
" and that puts me in mind again of this trick. Who-
ever has put that word in, has done mischief enough
for one morning: Farmer Hedges' can't find his best
cart-horse, and a cow and two donkeys have got into
mother's garden, eat up her cabbages, and trampled
down her pease and beans, that were just getting
strong." "It's a great pity they were not a little
stronger," observed George, looking still much more
amused than he ought to have been; but I suppose


64






IT WAS ONLY IN FUN.


a rake and a hoe, and a shilling to buy more cabbage
plants, will soon set all to rights again."
Tom Hobbs's temper, not a little ruffled by his late
vexation, was still more annoyed by having his griev-
ances treated in this light and unfeeling manner. "A
lot of cows and donkeys getting into a garden may
seem very funny to you, sir," he said; "and, if the
garden belonged to rich folk, it mightn't be of much
matter; a loss of cabbages is not much to them; but,
though you mayn't know it, to lose anything that grows
in poor people's ground is to lose great part of their
living. Such troubles as these may make young gentle-
men laugh, but they are serious enough to us, when
we are obliged, through them, to go with half a dinner.'
" Besides thumping me, when I was only doing as I
was bid," chimed in Johnny. I,m sure, Johnny, I'm
very sorry for having done so," replied Tom Hobbs;
"and, as I said before, only wish that I could catch
the right one to give it to." And, whilst he spoke
these last words, he looked suspiciously at young
Markham. You can't give him the same thumps you
gave me, if you did," said Johnny, "so don't mind
any more about it; Dame says folk should 'forgive and
forget.' "
Tom Hobbs seemed not at all inclined to follow
this Christian precept, and Miss Vernon having noticed
E2


65






IT WAS ONLY IN FUN.


the suspicious glance he had cast on George, hastened
to put an end to the dialogue. Taking two half-crowns
from her purse, she put them into Tom's hand, saying,
she hoped that it would be sufficient to repair the
injury done to his mother's garden.
The lad, with Johnny, then went away, still not very
well satisfied, though respectful to the lady, who, with
her young companions, passed on for some distance in
silence. Miss Vernon looked extremely grave, and
George was the first to speak. "I am sorry, ma'am,"
he said, that you should think it necessary to give
that fellow so much as five shillings; it is a large sum
for you to lose." "It is not my intention to lose it,"
replied Miss Vernon; "I gave the money on your
account, and, therefore, Master Markham, expect that
you will repay it me directly on reaching home." On
my account! and why ? exclaimed George, in a falter-
ing voice, and the colour forsaking his cheeks. Simply
for this reason," she replied: "I feel certain that it
was you who occasioned the mischief those two half-
crowns are meant to repair, and you may consider
yourself fortunate should they prove to be a sufficient
sum for the purpose." "Me! Miss Vernon?" ex-
claimed George, again in a tone he intended to sound
like surprise. Yes, sir," returned Miss Vernon; "and
do not add to the fault already committed, by attempt-


66






IT WAS ONLY IN FUN.


ing to deny it. It was you who wrote in the word
'NOT,' filling up the space between the 'Please' and 'to.'
I knew in a moment the particular kind of t' that
you make, looking more like a cross than a well-formed
letter; but, even had I not known it, your manner
was enough of itself to convince me. I would not
of course, express my opinion before the two boys,
fearing the bigger one might tell it to the whole village
on account of his resentment, and the other through
his straightforward simplicity."
George was, by this time, aware that whatever he
might say, to throw a doubt on the subject, would not
be believed, so he held his tongue; he was in hopes,
too, by thus silently admitting the truth, he should
prevent anything more being said about it now, and,
perhaps, at home. Judging Miss Vernon by the common
rules he had used on other occasions, he further thought,
that, if he repaid the money readily, it would be all
right, and no more worry (as he termed admonition)
about it; and, having a purse unfortunately too well
filled for a boy of his thoughtless disposition, the loss
of five shillings was not so great a punishment as it
would otherwise have been. It was, at least, very far
from sufficient to break him of the bad habit he had
long indulged in of playing tricks, regardless of con-
sequences, excusing himself, when found out, by saying,






IT WAS ONLY IN FUN.


" it was only in fun." And this was the justification
he made in the present instance when pressed by Miss
Vernon to own the truth, on being asked why he had
altered the direction on the gate.
"I wonder, Master Markham," she said, that you,
who can see so clearly how wrong the boy was in
throwing the log across the railway for the sake of a
jest, do not perceive how blameable you are yourself."
" I don't think," returned George, "that what I have
done ought to be compared with what he did; my
putting the word 'not' in could never cause such harm
as his tricks might." "Perhaps not," said Miss Vernon;
but, as I remarked to you before, we should avoid
doing anything, even in jest, that may end in mischief,
however slight; and you ought to have learnt, long
ago, that there is no true wit in either saying or doing
what may injure or give pain to any one." "Well,
there's no great harm done this time, at any rate,"
cried George, impatiently, and somewhat wearied of the
longest lecture he had ever received: it was only in
fun' that I put the word in; and that impudent boy,
and the old woman his mother, in having five shillings
given them, have got, I dare say, more than twice the
value of the damage done, so they'll have a double
stock of cabbages and everything else; I think I have
the most reason to complain this time, at least." "If






IT WAS ONLY IN FUN.


so, that is just as it should be, replied Miss Vernon;
" and I hope all persons who do things in fun, without
first considering consequences, will always find them-
selves the greatest sufferers by them."
"Perhaps, Miss Vernon," said George, as they drew
near the house, "you will be kind enough not to say
anything of this business at home; I don't want to be
teased about having lost five shillings. And I'm sure
dear little cousin Mary," he added, to the child, coax-
ingly, wont speak of it. Some day I may, very likely,
tell Mr. Jolliffe, because he is so merry that I know it
will be just the thing to please him." I dare say
you think so, but I doubt it very much," returned Miss
Vernon; I never can persuade you to believe that Mr.
Jolliffe is not only merry but wise, at the same time."
How glad I am that the walk is over !" said George
to himself, as they entered the avenue leading to the
house. Women have no fun in them: whilst they
are children, they care for nothing but dolls and baby-
houses; and when they grow older, they are always for
lecturing and hectoring over boys."
George Markham had only very lately formed this
opinion, for he had had, unfortunately but few oppor-
tunities of female tuition, or, indeed, any instruction
at all fitted to correct his errors. His mother had died
whilst he was an infant, and his father, the captain of


69






IT WAS ONLY IN FUN.


a merchant vessel, being scarcely ever at home, left him
to the care of his housekeeper, an ignorant old woman,
very ill qualified to instruct and manage him. This
person, with a footboy to assist her, named Bob, com-
pleted Mr. Markham's household. It is true that
George, when old enough, went to school, but then he
begged so hard to be only a day scholar, that his father,
more of a rough seaman than an educated and judicious
parent, granted his request. Thus he still continued
to pass the greater part of his time at home, with Bob
for his chief companion, practising between them
unnumbered pranks on old Betty, who, instead of
complaining, as she ought to have done, when Captain
Markham came home, generally bore their behaviour
very quietly, fearful, if she did not, she might lose her
place, which, being in it the greater part of the year
her own mistress, "t-as a thing," as she said to
herself, not to be thought of."
Thus was the love of mischief, disguised by the
name of fun, early created and encouraged by the ill-
judging and cunning old woman, who, however, con-
trived to avoid any very serious annoyance to herself,
by threatening Bob with dismissal if he didn't mind
what he was about.
Mr. Ingram, the brother-in-law of Captain Markham,
whilst on a visit to him a few weeks before the present


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period, noticed the familiar terms on which Bob seemed
to be with his young master, and, fearful of what
might be the result of such an improper intimacy, had,
in order to check it, invited George to spend the
summer with him in Hampshire, saying to his father
he thought, too, that a little better female society than
that of old Betty might be of service to him. Captain
Markham readily assented, and Master George left his
home at Greenwich, accompanying his uncle to the
retired, or as he called it, the stupid village in which
that gentleman had fixed his residence.
On reaching home, not a word was said by either
MIiss Vernon or Mary of what had occurred during
their walk. Though he felt as though he was a good
deal ill-used, in being obliged to give so much, George
was anxious to repay the five shillings. Then,"
thought he, "she can't pester me any more about it.
I only wish Miss Vernon was like old Betty; but I
suppose governesses never are, and to be fault-finding
and lecturing is part of their trade; that may do,
perhaps, very well for girls, for they are all just as
stupid; but it won't do for boys, at least, not such
famous fellows as I have been used to at Greenwich."
Miss Vernon made no hesitation in taking the bright
five-shilling piece offered her, though she could see that
Master George, on- presenting it, would have been


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IT WAS ONLY IN FUN.


better pleased if she had. And now, that affair settled,
he went to the drawing-room, in which he found Mr.
Jolliffe, alone and reading a letter. I have some
.capital news for you, Georgy, my boy," he said, rubbing
his hands, his cheerful, round face beaming with de-
light. The good ship 'Hope,' of Calcutta, has safely
arrived, and my man James, whom I left behind me in
London for the purpose, will be here with little Julian
and his Indian nurse, Mima, to-morrow." "Is that
all ?" inquired George, disappointedly. "Is that all ?"
repeated Mr. Jolliffe; to be sure it is, and what more
would you have ? But perhaps you would like him to
bring, instead of his nurse, a lion, or Bengal tiger, to
put in the forest here." "I think I know better than
to have such a fancy as that," replied George; but
what a famous sport those tiger hunts they have in
India must be, mustn't they, Mr. Jolliffe ?" "I think
hunt the slipper a much better game," replied that
gentleman; "for sometimes, in tiger hunting, the tiger
takes it into his head to hunt the man, and that, you
know, the slipper never does." "Oh but you are top
of an elephant,' said George; "that's the way in India."
"Yes, I know that it is," replied Mr. Jolliffe, "at set-
ting out; but, perhaps, before your return, instead of
the elephant's back, you may be on the tiger's; for I
believe they don't expect you to walk to their dens


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IT WAS ONLY IN FUN.


when they catch you, but are polite enough to carry you
there on their backs or between their jaws, whichever
may be most convenient to themselves. When little
Julian comes he will tell you all about it, and then we
will make a game of it. As I am bigger than any
body else here, I will be the elephant; Julian shall be
the huntsman, mounted on my shoulders; you shall
be the tiger, and we will hunt you all over the grounds,
and to make the play complete, lock you up in the
village cage afterwards, if you wish it."
George considered himself rather above entering into
such a game of make-believe, and thought he should
really feel a little tiger-like, if expected to play it for
the child's amusement. I hope," resumed Mr. Jolliffe,
after a pause, that Julian is a brisk little fellow; I
never could like a stupid milk-and-water sort of boy,
though, of course, I would do my duty, after having
promised his father to take charge of him." "What
fun it will be, if he is one of that sort," said young
Markham to himself,-" a capital joke, indeed, for a
man like Mr. Jolliffe to have such a lad as that sent
him all the way from India; but, if he is not, it will
be good sport to make him for a while, just a
little while, seem as though he was stupid and milk-
soppish. Mr. Jolliffe will know afterwards that it was
only done in fun, and then he will laugh at it himself."


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IT WAS ONLY IN FUN.


Master George Markham, in thinking thus, only
proved how little he really knew of Mr. Jolliffe's true
character; for in wishing to find Julian a brisk, in-
telligent child, he had motives far deeper than the mere
desire of being amused by him. Possessing a large
fortune, and without relations to claim his assistance,
he had long devoted himself to purposes of benevolence.
Mr. Selby, Julian's father, had been the dearest friend
of his boyhood, and he had afterwards, at his own
expense, fitted him out, and provided for him in India.
There Mr. Selby had married. Julian was the youngest
of several children, and the climate not agreeing with
his constitution, a change had been recommended.
Mr. Jolliffe no sooner knew this, than he determined
on adopting him, if his parents would consent; and,
if the child proved capable of receiving it, he meant to
give him a first-rate education, thus fitting him to do
credit to some high profession, and to the fortune he
intended to bestow on him. Of this George was then,
of course, entirely ignorant.


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IT WAS ONLY IN FUN.,


CHAPTER II.

MR. and Mrs. Ingram had been chiefly induced, in the
choice of their present residence, by their long intimacy
with a family who had retired to the same village.
This family consisted of Mrs. Maitland, a widow lady,
with a grown-up son and daughter, and two or three
other younger children. They lived in a house called
the Priory, about a mile distant from Mr. Ingram's.
On the morning following the incidents related in the
previous chapter, Miss Vernon and Mary intended
calling at the Priory; and, as both his uncle and aunt
were from home, and Mr. Jolliffe engaged in writing,
they again invited young Markham to go with them,
as being the best method for keeping him out of the
stables, well knowing that he would much have pre-
ferred the companionship of the groom, or even the
stable boy, to theirs.
Arrived at the Priory, they were shown into a parlour,
in which they found Miss Maitland alone, sitting at
her desk, with two letters before her that she had just
written, put into their envelopes, and directed. I am
afraid," said Miss Vernon, when the first words at
meeting had passed, that we interrupt you." 0 !


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IT WAS ONLY IN FUN.


not all," she replied; I had just finished as you came
in : and glad enough I was, for two such different kind
of letters, I don't think any poor girl ever had to write
at the same time." Then, I suppose I ought to con-
gratulate you, not only on having completed a task,
but on your ingenuity," said Miss Vernon. "Well, I
think I almost deserve that you should," replied the
young lady, laughing; "for one is all form and
ceremony, written from my poor head, and the other
all affection and nonsense, and that one comes from my
heart; and, after saying so much, I certainly ought to
say a little more, and explain what I mean." "Pray
do not think that necessary on the score of politeness,
my dear," said her friend. 0 no, not on that account;
and now I must tell you; this letter," holding it up
as she spoke, is to one of the most precise old ladies
in all England, or anywhere else, I believe : it is to
my godmamma, Lady Strickland, and begins with
' Most respected and honoured Madam;' whilst this,"
showing the other, "is to Nurse Higgins, and begins,
'You dear, darling, old Nuzzy,' for that is what I used
to call her before I could speak plain." After a few
more minutes spent in conversation, Matilda-for that
was Miss Maitland's name-observed to her lady
visitors, that they had not seen her sleeping room since
it had been newly fitted up; and you can have no


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IT WAS ONLY IN FUN.


idea," she added, of how pretty it now looks to what
it did. If this young gentleman will excuse being
left by himself, and you will take the trouble of walking
up stairs, I shall like to show it you." George, in his
plain, rough way, said, he did not care at all about
being left, and his three companions then quitted the
room together.
SAt first he amused himself tolerably well, in looking
Through the window into the garden; but, soon tired
of that, he glanced round the room in search of some
better entertainment, and, in so doing, his eye rested
on the two letters already mentioned. A bright
thought, according to his own idea, immediately arose
in his mind, and, without pausing for a moment to
reflect before he acted on it, the two letters were taken
out of their envelopes, the one intended for Lady
Strickland put into the cover directed for Nurse Higgins,
and that for Nurse Higgins placed in Lady Strickland's.
Using his favourite exclamation on such occasions,
"What fun !" he cried, in great glee, "wouldn't I give
more than five shillings, this time, if I could but see
that stiff old lady believing herself, even for a moment,
to be called, 'a dear, darling, old Nuzzy;' and then
the old nurse herself puzzling and spelling word by
word over the grand, formal letter. Matilda Maitland,
if she ever finds it out, will think she has made the


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IT WAS ONLY IN FUN.


mistake herself, and she is such a merry creature that
I know she will only laugh at it. If all girls were
like her, I shouldn't care if I had happened to have a
sister or two."
George had just come to this complimentary conclu-
sion of what he had been saying to himself, when
Matilda, with her two visitors, re-entered the room.
" I ought to beg your pardon, Master Markham, for
having left you so long," she said, "but I hope you
you did not find the time tedious." 0 not at all,'
replied George, with more sincerity than politeness:
"I should have been sorry, if you had hurried your-
selves to come before." This was said with a sort of
suppressed chuckle that did not escape the notice of
Miss Vernon, though she made no observation on it at
the time. Shall I not have the pleasure of seeing
your mamma ?" she inquired of Matilda. "I believe
you must excuse her this morning. In the first place,
I do not think she knows you are here; and in the
second, I must tell you, though it is at present a secret,
she is exceedingly busy in preparations for a grand fete,
to be given in honour of my eldest brother being of
age, and to which you must all come, for there is to be
an entertainment for little folks, as well as bigger ones;
but though so intimate with you, and all dear Mrs.
Ingram's family, you must expect to receive formal cards


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IT WAS ONLY IN FUN.


of invitation in due time, the same as our other
acquaintances." "I can only say, on my own part,"
replied Miss Vernon, that I thank your mamma very
much for the invitation, let it come in Whatever shape
it may, knowing that it is always a kind one." "We
are to meet early in the day," said Matilda, "and I
only hope it may be a fine one. There is to be archery
and cricket, and a great many other games for the boys.
So, Master Markham, as I understand you are very
clever at those sort of things, we shall particularly
depend upon you to conduct them."
George was delighted at the promise of being made
of so much consequence, and the prospect, too, of such
a day's pleasure. For," said he to Miss Vernon, as
they returned home, "I suppose an entertainment like
what Mrs. Maitland is going to give, don't come more
than once in fifty years in this stupidest of all stupid
places. Ah! Miss Vernon, you should come and see
us at Greenwich in the fair-time." And take a run
down the hill, I suppose," she replied good-humouredly;
"thank you, Master George, for the invitation, but I
would rather be excused, if you please." "I can't
think resumed young Markham, "how the people
here can amuse themselves all the year round. I
wonder what such boys as I have been used to, would
say to such a dull place." "Perhaps it would have


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IT WAS ONLY IN FUN.


been better for those famous boys you so often speak
of," replied Miss Vernon, quietly, "if they had been
born and bred in this stupid place, as you call it, and
never quitted it till they had been confirmed in good
habits, instead of bad ones."
"Another lecture! so I'll say no more," thought
George; and the rest of their walk home was passed
in silence, little Mary amusing herself in gathering
wild flowers, and Miss Vernon feeling as disinclined to
speak as young Markham himself, though he entirely
occupied her thoughts. She was trying to find a
meaning for what his manner and countenance had
expressed upon her returning to the parlour at Mrs.
Maitland's. It was impossible, without some very
plain evidence to judge by, that she could suspect he
would be guilty of so disgraceful a departure from
principle and good breeding, as even to touch a letter
written by another person, and that he knew was not
intended for him, much less could she imagine that he
would venture to do what he had done. She, therefore,
this time supposed she must have been wrong in
suspecting him, and on entering the house, dismissed
the subject from her mind.
It was rather late in the afternoon when Julian Selby
arrived with Nurse Mima and James. Mr. Jolliffe had
been for more than an hour looking anxiously out for


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IT WAS ONLY IN FUN.


them, and so had George Markham, though from very
different motives and feelings. The wholly inexcusable
trick he had played Miss Maitland in the morning, in-
stead of satisfying him for one day at least, had only
increased his inclination for another; so true it is that,
in the pursuit of EVIL, the race is so much more rapid
than in that of GOOD. Therefore, I should advise, and,
indeed, earnestly entreat my young readers, if they
should ever be disposed to follow so bad an example
as that set by George Markham, to shrink with terror
from taking the first step, for they know not where it
may lead; but of this they may, at least, be certain,
that the more they advance the further they will go,
and consequently, the greater difficulty they will have
in returning to the path from which they stray, or, to
speak in plainer language, of regaining the love and
esteem of their friends, as well as their own self-respect,
without which their lives can never be deservedly
prosperous, or really happy.
"Well! here they are at last," cried Mr. Jolliffe,
turning from the window and hastening down stairs,
to receive his little friend, as the carriage drew up to
the hall-door. George, eager for anything new, fol-
lowed, offering to assist in unloading the chaise.
Julian was the first to alight; he was a very deli-
cately formed small boy for his age, looking pale and
? 2


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IT WAS ONLY IN FUN.


fatigued; he spoke scarcely above his breath, and his
hand trembled as he put it into Mr. Jolliffe's. After
desiring James to see that Nurse Mima was properly
attended to by Mr. Ingram's servants, Mr. Jolliffe led
Julian up stairs to the drawing-room, where he was
warmly received by the kind, though till then unknown
friends awaiting him.
Julian Selby was one of those kind of children
whom it takes some time to thoroughly understand and
love, at least by persons who are hasty in forming
their opinions. He was not only an affectionate, but a
clever and high-minded boy; incapable of misleading,
or telling a falsehood himself, he seldom or never sus-
pected it in another, and had, indeed, so great an
abhorrence of that vice, that he could scarcely believe
it, when found out in any one he had trusted; he was
good-tempered, docile, and quick at learning, and
would, perhaps, have been more lively in his manners,
but that he was painfully shy and timid, this nervous
feeling always acting as a check upon him. His deli-
cate health, and the weakening nature of the climate
he had hitherto lived in, might, perhaps, in a great
measure account for this defect.
After Julian had partaken of some refreshment, Mr.
Jolliffe tried to draw him into conversation, but the
child shrunk from him as a stranger, and his thoughts


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IT WAS ONLY IN FUN.


were in the home he had left; but, fearful of seeming
ungrateful if he said so, his manner was confused and
awkward, and his manners not so clear as they would
otherwise have been; thus Mr. Jolliffe's first impression
of poor Julian was not very favourable. Never having
lived where there were children, excepting Mary, he
was more than usually slow at understanding them,
and he could not help wishing the little boy had been
more like George Markham; for, only having spent
the last fortnight with that hopeful young gentleman,
and never having heard of any of his pranks at home
or elsewhere, he appeared to him as a fine spirited
youth, allowing for some occasional roughness or folly
in speech, by saying he perhaps was a little too merry
sometimes. George, too, was a handsome, well-grown
lad, such as he had pictured to himself his expected
pet;-not that Mr. Jolliffe thought outward beauty of
any value, when compared with that of the mind and
disposition; but Julian seemed to him very much the
reverse of even a manly boy, so that he could not help
feeling a little disappointed on that account too besides
the other. Mrs. Ingram saw that Julian's eyes were
constantly turned towards the door, and, better able to
judge of what was passing in his mind than Mr.
Jolliffe could be, she asked him if he would like> to be
taken to Mima, for perhaps he was tired, and would


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IT WAS ONLY IN FUN.


like to go early to bed. The little boy, still fearful of
offending in saying what might be thought wrong,
answered, I will do as you please, Ma'am." "Then,
my dear," said Mrs. Ingram, a little puzzled by his
reply, "I think you had better go: Mima, too, will
perhaps be glad to have you with her, for all here must
be as strange to her as it is to you ; to-morrow, I hope,
we shall be better acquainted."
The bell was then rung, and the servant who an-
swered it desired to take him to the rooms prepared
for his and Mima's use, in which she was already com-
fortably seated, with no want of companions, curiosity
leading all the other servants to spend as much time as
they could spare with her; and when Julian entered,
there were wonderful stories being told about India,
and many questions being asked as to what sort of a
country England was; but there was a speedy stop
put to all this, upon his coming, for, running up to
Mima and throwing his arms round her neck, he eased
his over-charged heart by a flood of tears. This little
incident was told in the drawing-room on the servant's
return when the bell was again rung. It chanced, soon
after, that no one was left there but young Markham
and Mr. Jolliffe, who had been walking to and fro for
some minutes, lost in thought.
I am afraid," said he at length, as though thinking


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IT WAS ONLY IN FUN.


aloud, I shall be disappointed in him, and that will
be a great pity; for I intended to make him a clever
and a rich man." And now Mr. Jolliffe suddenly
paused in his walk, opposite where George was sitting,
and looked at him for a few moments with evident
admiration. George easily understood the look; he
he had, besides, eagerly listened to the few words that
had been spoken, and, ever rapid in his conceptions, a
new idea suddenly darted into his mind. Hitherto he
had excused his tricks by saying they were mere pieces
or fun: he would have been very much offended, as
well as surprised, if anybody, in judging of them, had
accused him of lying, and yet they would have been
perfectly right in so doing. Thus, whilst he was de-
ceiving himself as to their true character, the first
great principle of Integrity, which is love of Truth,
was every day becoming weaker and weaker, whilst the
habit of making his inclinations the rule of his actions
strengthened in proportion. He perceived that Mr.
Jolliffe was wishing Julian had been such a boy as
himself, and that, on the contrary, the child had
appeared unfit for the good intentions he had in store
for him. "If Mr. Jolliffe likes me best," reasoned
George within himself, "why should not I have my
fortune made instead of this baby, who don't even
look as though he would live to be a man ? He is no


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IT WAS ONLY IN FUN.


more a relation of his than I am; besides, his father
is rich, and able to give him a fortune himself, (here
George was mistaken,) whilst mine is only captain of a
ship, that may go to the bottom of the sea any day
with everything in it, even my father and all, and then
what is to become of me?" At this selfish and un-
feeling conclusion of his meditations he looked up, and
saw that his unsuspecting friend was again gazing
earnestly at him. "Why should not Mr. Jolliffe," he
added, still speaking inwardly, make a clever and
a rich man of me ?" Had Mr. Jolliffe known the
real character of George Markham, he would have tried
to do even more for him than making him clever and
rich: he would have used his best endeavours to make
him good.
"Georgy, my boy," said Mr. Jolliffe, at last, "I am
afraid this little lad is not quite so brisk as I could
wish, and, as I suppose he will naturally like better to
be with you than anybody else here, I shall take it as
a favour if you will try to make him a little more like
-in fact-a little more like yourself." Poor Mr.
Jolliffe, so kind and confiding! could he at that
moment have known what Master George Markham
was really like, how shocked he would have been at
having made such a request: for, even had Julian been
the milk-and-water little fellow he thought him, how


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IT WAS ONLY IN FUN. 87

much to be preferred that would have been to the
hitherto thoughtless and unfeeling, but now wickedly
disposed youth before him. Some others of the family
entering the room, nothing further was said upon the
subject. George was glad of this: "for," thought
he, "that prevented my giving any promise :" just as
though that could make his conduct less guilty, in the
deceit he meant to practise.





IT WAS ONLY IN FUN.


CHAPTER III.

JULIAN arose early on the following morning, refreshed
by a long sleep, and, with a natural curiosity to see
more of a place so new to him, was walking in the
garden, when George saw him from his bedroom win-
dow and ran down to join him. His first idea of
"what fun it would be" to make him appear, "just
for a little while," different to what Mr. Jolliffe wished
to find him, was certainly uppermost in his thoughts;
but then, the wicked idea of taking his place in that
gentleman's favour was there too. He soon perceived
that Julian was only shy and fearful, instead of stupid;
so, as a first step to what he intended, he set about
making him familiar with himself.
Little Julian had never told an untruth in his life,
and had, moreover, been taught that telling falsehoods
in fun, for the sake of a joke, was lying too. Having
so just a detestation of this disgraceful fault, he was,
as before stated, slow to suspect it in any one, and
therefore readily believed all that George Markham
thought proper to tell him.
After a little while he owned his fear of not behav-
ing properly where he was so great a stranger, and


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IT WAS ONLY IN FUN.


begged George to direct him, particularly in what way
he could best please Mr. Jolliffe. "For Papa told me,"
he added, that he had been such a kind friend to him,
he hoped I would do everything I could to make him
like me." "That is, because, not contented with
being made a rich man himself, he wants to make his
son a rich man too," thought George, who having no
generous or grateful feelings in his own mind, never
gave other people credit for possessing any. 0 Mr.
Jolliffe," replied young Markham, "is a very good
man indeed; but though he is very fond of laughing
and joking himself, I don't think that he would like
little boys to do so; you had better, therefore, be very
quiet when you are where he is; he lets me do as I like,
because I am a big boy: besides, I don't belong to him,
as you do." The falsehood contained in the beginning
of this speech was exactly that he meant to make use
of in his first design of only deceiving in fun; but its
effect was of so much importance, as he afterwards
found, that he was easily induced to follow it up, in
order to carry on his second and more culpable plan of
stepping into Julian's place.
"I am sure," said Julian, sighing, "I shall find it
very easy to be quiet and silent; if I feel at all merry,
I shall only have to -think of my own dear home, so
far, far, away, and I shall be dull enough then to please


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IT WAS ONLY IN FUN.


anybody." This success in his first attempt was a
strong inducement for George to go on. That's a
capital idea of yours," he said, keep to it, and you'll
do very well; but as that must be a very dismal way
of spending time, you had better be out of the parlour
as much as you can; Mima, you know, will be glad
enough of your company, for she must feel even
stranger than do, and some of our servants, if you are
not with her to prevent it, will lead her a precious tor-
menting life of it; besides," he added, after a pause,
"Mr. Jolliffe may think better of you for showing
great fondness and liking to be with her, instead of
staying with him and uncle and aunt." George, in
uttering these words, felt his cheeks tingle with the
deepest glow of shame that had ever come into them.
It was impossible, though, misguided as he had been
all through life, that he should become so suddenly
bad as not to feel in some measure shocked at his own
conduct; he had now told three or four barefaced false-
hoods, for a purpose for which he knew he could not
offer an excuse, even to himself, by saying It was only
in fun." Such is the natural progress of error when
once begun. They now went to breakfast; Mr. Jolliffe,
seeing the two boys together, felt assured that George
had attended to his request, and that all would go on
well, and, in order not to interfere in the task he had


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IT WAS ONLY IN FUN.


set him, he spoke but little to Julian; yet he noticed,
with great vexation, that he seemed the same kind of
boy that he done on the evening before.
It is not necessary that the occurrences of every day
should be detailed; and a space of three weeks may be
passed lightly over. Little Julian acted on the advice
he had received, and Mr. Jolliffe, in consequence, was
confirmed in his first impressions. George Markham,
continuing as he had begun, sometimes indulged in
what he called fun, and sometimes in more intentional
mischief,-the one fault, as I have already endeavoured
to show, growing out of the other, that is, of telling
falsehoods in jest.
Although Mr. Jolliffe was still deceived by him,
there was, however, one person in the family who was
not, and that person was Miss Vernon; but as she did
not hint her suspicions, even to himself, George was
deceived in his turn, and spent his time in a manner
highly agreeable to his taste in the present, though not
in a way that was likely to produce him any good in
the future, at least such good as he had marked down
for himself, and that was to be admired for his talents,
and to be made a rich man by Mr. Jolliffe.
One morning, about this time, Matilda Maitland
called at Mr. Ingram's, when the family were met to-
gether at luncheon : she looked pale, and out of spirits.


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IT WAS ONLY IN FUN.


1"I hope, my dear, you are not ill," inquired Mrs.
Ingram. no, Ma'am; but I am sadly vexed: you
remember those two letters I had been writing, when I
last saw you, Miss Vernon? Perfectly: one was
to Lady Strickland, and the other to Nurse Higgins."
" Just so," said Matilda; but, somehow or other, they
were sent in the wrong covers. I can't think how it
could happen, for I am certain they were right when I
directed them. However, I had a terrible reprimand
last week from godmamma, who says the reason of my
not hearing from her before, is, that she was ill when
my letter arrived, and not sufficiently well till then to
answer me as I ought to be answered, for my disre-
spectful carelessness; adding, as a punishment to make
me more thoughtful for the future, she should not send
me a very pretty present she had intended to surprise
me with, on our little festival on my brother's birth-
day." "That is very hard indeed," said Mr. Jolliffe;
"but never mind, Matilda, other folk can make
presents as well as. Lady Starchington, (I beg pardon,)
I mean Lady Strickland;" and the kind-hearted old
bachelor felt as grieved for Matilda's disappointment
as though she had been his own daughter, and busied
his thoughts in suggesting what sort of a gift would
be most agreeable to her. Little Julian's mind was the
same way occupied, and a curious small desk, of Indian


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IT WAS ONLY IN FUN.


workmanship, intended for his own use, was speedily
fixed on.
"What I have already told you," resumed Miss
Maitland, is not the worst consequence of this strange
circumstance. Lady Strickland, not knowing that
Nurse Higgins had gone to live with her relations in
Scotland, but thinking she was still in Wiltshire, sent
her letter on there instead of back to me; so, when it
will find her, or whether it ever will, I can't tell, there
being so many Higginses in that part of the country.
I should not care so much about this, because I could
write her another letter, but in the one I sent her I
had enclosed a five-pound note, hearing she was very
much in want of money. Not having had an answer,
I am afraid some dishonest person of the same name
may have had the letter, and been tempted by the
money to say nothing about it. I have, however,
written to Nurse again." It was a most unfortunate
mistake that you made," observed Mr. Ingram. I
can scarcely believe that I did make it," said Matilda;
"yet I don't know how I can otherwise account for it:
it's very odd! You did not leave the room whilst I
went up stairs, Master Markham, did you ?" Miss
Vernon's eyes were immediately upon him.
0 no," said George, not venturing to look up, I
was there all the time;" adding, (for he was now


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IT WAS ONLY IN FUN.


wholly regardless of truth,) "I amused myself by
looking into the garden through the window, till you
came down." Had he merely said No," in answer,
it would have been better for his wish of avoiding
suspicion; his desire to prove that he had been but in
one part of the room all the time, and that part the
farthest from where the desk was placed, convinced
Miss Vernon of the fact, especially as she had her
knowledge of his character to judge by, besides re-
membering his look and words when Matilda apologized
for having left him so long.
"I asked you the question," rejoined Miss Maitland,
"because it suddenly occurred to me that one of the
children might have come into the room whilst we
were gone, and playing, as sometimes children will,
with what they ought not to touch, might have pulled
my two letters out of their covers, and then replaced
them each in the wrong one."
George wished now that he had said he had left the
room, but it was too late.
The subject was dropped, and Matilda soon after left.
On returning home, she ran up to the nursery, Mrs.
Maitland being there. "Dear mamma," she said, I
am more than ever puzzled about my letters; George
Markham says he never ltt the room whilst we were
gone, but stood at the window looking into the garden






IT WAS ONLY IN FUN.


the whole time." "That I am sure he didn't," cried
one of the little Maitlands, a remarkably sharp-witted
child. "How do you know, Lizzie dear?" inquired
Matilda. Because, when I knew Mary Ingram was
here, I ran down to gather her some of the flowers she
likes so much, and that grow under the parlour
window, and I looked into the room, and there I saw
him standing at the table where you had been writing;
his back was to me, so I couldn't see what he was
doing, but in a minute or two he cried out quite loud,
'What fun!' and then he burst out a-laughing."
" Well, dear, and what next ?" asked her sister, very
much surprised, but feeling certain that the riddle
might now be easily guessed. 0 then," said Lizzie,
" I was afraid he would turn round and see me and
think me rude, so, having gathered my flowers, I ran
away up to Mary in your bedroom."
Matilda knowing she could have perfect confidence
in Miss Vernon, and Mrs. Maitland thinking it right
that a boy who could be guilty of such disgraceful
conduct should have his friends informed of it, they
took the first opportunity that offered of repeating to
that lady what Lizzie had told them, leaving her to
act with regard to it as judgment might direct.
They, however determined, on their own part, to shew
him their knowledge and opinion of his behaviour,


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IT WAS ONLY IN FUN.


by not sending him a card of invitation to the birth-
day fete, hoping, by thus proving to him he was
thought unfit to be received into the company of
persons of integrity and respectability, they should
give him one of the best lessons for the future he
could possibly have.
George, finding more than a week pass by, and
hearing no more about the letters, felt safe with regard
to them, and caring but very little for anybody ex-
cepting himself, went on as usual; but Miss Vernon,
though he did not know it, was still silently watching
his conduct. Naturally fond of children, and easily
understanding their different characters, she soon found
out the excellent disposition and mind of Julian; but
there was one thing about him still puzzled her, and
that was his always becoming silent and quiet in the
presence of Mr. Jolliffe, however cheerful or playful
he might have been, perhaps only a moment before,
when he was out of the room. "There must be some
cause of this," she said to herself, "and I am afraid
George Markham has more to do with it than he would
like me or any one else to know."
Impressed by this suspicion, she questioned Julian
upon the subject. It waio perfectly natural to this
truthful boy to answer every inquiry in a straight-
forward way, that Miss Vernon soon learnt all that


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IT WAS ONLY IN FUN.


had passed between him and his pretended friend.
"It is, then," thought she, "just as I expected to find
it, and that ill-educated and still more ill-disposed
youth, if something is not done to check him, will
finish in wickedness and ruin, what he has begun in
folly and in play." She knew that Mr. Jolliffe,
through George's artifice, was as much prejudiced in
his favour as he was against Julian ; but she saw both
the boys in their true light, and resolved that he
should do the same. Therefore, the first morning she
found him alone, she spoke to him upon the subject.
Mr. Jolliffe was delighted with her account of
Julian; but when she told him her opinion of George,
and all she knew of his conduct and intentions, he was
too much shocked and surprised to readily believe she
was not mistaken. However, I will take the first
opportunity," he said, of trying the selfishness and
want of principle you are so persuaded of; for I agree
with you in thinking there is but little difference in
doing wrong in fun and in earnest, more especially as
the one is pretty sure to lead to the other, and truth
is always disregarded in both cases."
In less than an hour afterwards, George himself fur-
nished Mr. Jolliffe with the opportunity he wished for.
Young Markham had often said how much he should
like to have a Newfoundland dog, ready trained to
G2


97




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